Analyzing Arguments Extended Response
The RLA GED Extended Response • As you know, the essay for the 2014 will be different. • Today, we will begin preparing for your first extended response. • In order to write an effective extended response, you will need to read an argument and analyze the support.
Overview • The purpose of an argument is to persuade readers to agree with the writer’s position. • When you analyze an argument, you identify its main parts and think about how they work together to fill that purpose.
Position, Central Claim, or Thesis • The position, central claim, or THESIS is the writer’s point of view about what readers should believe or do about a subject. • A claim may contain words like should, ought to, or must, or it may be a command. A claim may also be an assertion, or judgment, that something is true.
Examples of Claims • The government should not make further cuts to the budget of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). • Support American workers. Buy American made products. • E85—a blend of corn-based ethanol and gasoline—is the car fuel of the future. • Are these points debatable? Are there two sides?
Watch Out: A claim is not the same as an opinion. Opinions can’t be proven. Opinion Claim • Chocolate is delicious. • The governor is great. • Brand X chocolate is the creamiest because it has the most fat. • The governor’s job-creation program has created hundreds of new jobs.
Support for the Claim • To try to convince readers to believe their claims, writers provide support—explanations of why—their claims are correct and true. Reasons help answer the question, “Why should I believe or do what you want me to?” Each reason may be followed by evidence, or proof such as: • Specific examples or cases • The opinion of experts or authorities in a subject • Statistics or facts presented in number form • The result of surveys or polls • The result of scientific experiments and studies
Example • Claim: Daily exercise helps prevent heart disease. • Evidence: • Expert Opinion: In Physical Activity and Health, the U.S. Surgeon General reports that regular physical activity reduces the risk of death from coronary heart disease. • Statistics: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. Exercise could prevent some of those deaths—even among people who have heart problems. The death rate from heart disease among heart patients who exercise is 20-25% lower than the death rate of heart patients who don’t exercise. • Study: A recent study by the British Heart Association scientists found that physically active adults had lower levels of inflammatory markers linked to heart disease.
Counterarguments • Counterarguments are reasons that someone might disagree with the central claim. • A writer presents arguments against his or her position and then tries to REFUTE them, or show why they are not true.
Why Use Counterarguments? • Counterarguments strengthen an argument because by including them, they show the writer to be fair-minded, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. • There are always two sides to an argument. • Counterarguments might help you sway undecided readers.
Practice • Read “Energy in the Wind” • Look for the central claim. • Identify reasons the author gives to support the claim. • Identify the types of reasons given by the writer. • Look for counterarguments.
Quick Write • Is this a good argument? • Why? What makes it good? • Focus on the evidence—NOT whether you agree or disagree with the author’s claim.